While Ohio State head coach Ryan Day noted that changes will be coming to the defense following Saturday’s loss to Oregon, he came away impressed with the offense under the direction of redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Stroud, who was only making his second career start, threw for 484 yards and three touchdowns, which were the second-most passing yards in a single game in school history.
“I thought he was really accurate on Saturday,” Day said during weekly press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “I thought he made some throws that I haven’t seen a young kid make in a long time. That was not our issue.”
Stroud’s performance wasn’t perfect, as he overshot his receivers on a couple of deep passes that could have easily been touchdowns had they connected. He also threw a critical interception that effectively sealed the game for the Ducks late in the fourth quarter.
But then again, those kinds of mistakes are to be expected with a first-year signal-caller who hasn’t taken meaningful snaps in almost two seasons.
“I thought he was pretty aggressive,” Day said. “I thought the third down that we got the holding call on Thayer (Munford), he did an unbelievable job. It was 3rd-and-10, he tucked it, got the first down and took a good shot there. He dropped his shoulder and took a hit in there. We got the holding call, so it ended up 3rd-and-20, which was a major call at a major point in the game and I thought he really competed at that moment.
“As a quarterback, you also have to be smart. He’s running down the sideline, had a really good scramble for a first down along the right side early on that got a late hit on the sideline, picked up 15 yards there. I think he’s got himself out of trouble. He’s got a pretty good feel in the pocket and he is a threat with his feet. You saw last year the 48-yard touchdown he had (against Michigan State), so he’s had some good scrambles, and we’ll continue to build on that as time goes.”
Stroud admitted after the game he’s been dealing with a sore shoulder, which kept him out of at least one day of fall camp. But Day didn’t think that had an impact on his performance on Saturday or that it will limit him moving forward.
“That’s part of being a quarterback,” Day said. “You’re always going to have some bumps and bruises. When you’re playing in the spring or you’re in the preseason, you have a black jersey on and you’re never touched. And then you go out there and conference play or this game this past weekend, you’re going to get banged around a bit.”
“Justin (Fields) went through that and J.T. (Barrett) went through that a ton. That’s part of being a quarterback at a big-time level, so it’s something he will have to get used to and work through.”
All that said, Day knows Stroud is still growing into the position, which is why he said he never considered putting another quarterback into Saturday’s game. He also has no plans to make a change behind center anytime soon.
“Not after how he played on Saturday,” Day said. “We’ve got to help him more. We’ve got to run the football better and play better defense. That’s the bottom line.”
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